The character of Brenda Carnegie in Exit 22 was inspired by Kathleen Turner more than 20 years before Exit 22 was published.
In 1981, Kathleen Turner starred with William Hurt in the movie Body Heat. Her voice was deep, sultry and hypnotic. It would be the kind of voice that Christopher Sandige described in Exit 22 as "husky, the kind of voice a woman wakes up with but is gone before her lipstick is on" when describing Brenda Carnegie.
In Body Heat, Kathleen Turner sizzles. It was that sexiness that I tried to convey with Brenda Carnegie, the type of woman who instantly has a hold on the man she makes love to... Even when the man begins to wonder if she's operating on the wrong side of the law.
Exit 22, Christopher Sandige is a political strategist who is traveling south on Interstate 95 when he's involved in an automobile accident at Exit 22 in North Carolina. Stranded for the weekend in Lumberton, he meets Brenda Carnegie and is instantly attracted. Her eyes are such a light shade of brown that they turn amber in some lights, and he finds himself mesmerized by them. The eyes were inspired by this picture.
Even when Chris is pulled into a double homicide and finds himself running from the law and a sociopathic assassin determined to kill him and Brenda, he can not pull himself away from her, preferring to risk losing everything simply to have her.
Brenda is the type of woman who is equally at home seducing a man, tramping through alligator-infested swamps, or using her computer expertise to make millions in illegal activities.
And at the end of Exit 22, I was inundated with requests to bring her back.
Well, now my fans will have their wish.
Exit 22 has been spun off into a series entitled Black Swamp Mysteries. The next book is Vicki's Key, which will be released in March 2012. Christopher Sandige is back and he's looking for Brenda. His obsession will culminate in the third book of the series, Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, due to be released in September 2012.
You've probably guessed that the dangerous woman is Brenda Carnegie... And you'll learn that her illegal activities in Exit 22 were just the tip of the iceberg. Now she has secrets so explosive that she can bring down an entire government.
Exit 22 yet, you'll want to before the next two books are released in 2012. Through October 31, the book is on sale for only 99 cents in the Kindle edition. On November 1, it will return to $6.99.
Thank you, Kathleen Turner, for the inspiration.